Best places to sell stock footage in 2010

StockFootage Site Reviews Add comments

If you’re just getting started selling ‘royalty-free’ stock footage and you’d like to know where to upload your content, here are my top picks for 2010. The following sites are listed in order of who, on average pays me the most each month – starting with the top 3:

Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5
#1 Pond5. – New York City, New York, USA.
Payout: 50% of product price. Artist sets product price. No upper price limit.
Products for sale: Footage, Audio FX and Music.

Pond5 consistently pulls in the sales and with a 50% commission rate they’ve almost always been my top monthly earner.  In fact, since I started selling stock footage back in June 2008, P5 has been no.1 for 20 out of 24 months!
Pond5 is unique in that it has no upper pricing limit – so if you have specialized footage that you think is worth a couple of grand, you can sell it here.

PROS: Great payout rate at 50%. No upper pricing limit. Helpful community. Easy upload and keywording process. Fast (within a week) file approval. FTP always works.
CONS: Unlike istock and shutterstock, Pond5 does not automatically scale HD and SD footage down to smaller web sizes, which can mean lost sales. Also the maximum allowable amount of keywords for each clip on Pond5 is 25 words – which for some clips, can be on the lean side.
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Royalty-Free Stock Video at Shutterstock
#2 Shutterstock - NYC, New York, USA.
Payout: 26.5% to 30% of product price. Agency sets product price.
Products for sale: Footage (available for sale in original res. and smaller web sizes), Photos, Vector graphics.

Another NYC based agency, Shutterstock has always brought in the sales. There are some frustrations with SS – they reject a lot of my content – but overall I like this place. They’re definitely one to include in the mix. Though they usually come in third for me each month (in terms of dollars in the door), I’m placing them second because they’re easier to deal with than #3!

PROS: Good looking site with high quality footage content. Helpful community. Easy upload and keywording process.
CONS: Low commission rates. FTP performance is varied. Various bugs and glitches in the site’s code can be tedious ie. when keywording file descriptions that use “quotation marks”, you get weird extra characters that are generated – which then have to be erased.
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#3 istockCalgary, Alberta, Canada. (owned by media giant – Getty).
Payout: 30% of product price for non-exclusive contributors* Note this previously posted commission for istock was incorrect. Comission rates for non-exclusive contributors in 2010 at istock were between 15% and 20% based on number of sales. Rates for exclusive contributors in 2010 were between 25% and 45%. See schedule here: http://www.istockphoto.com/rate_schedule.php

Products for sale: Footage (available for sale in original res. and smaller web sizes), Sound FX, Music, Photographs, Vector graphics.

The wait time to get footage approved at istock is the longest in the biz – currently at about 5 weeks. istock also has the most complicated uploading process, and though it was developed to better organize content on istock’s servers, its not doing any favours for submitters – especially to those starting out. Despite the frustrations of working with this site and the relatively low percentage payout (vs. Pond5′s 50%), istock spends more money on marketing than anyone else. This means more buyers see your work, which translates into more sales.

PROS: istock is a beautiful looking site. It also comes with some very clever features that help buyers find what they want. (ie. Buyers can search based on colour or textspace requirements. As well there’s the ‘BestMatch’ keyword search system that allows buyers to give more relevancy to certain keywords in their searches).  Thanks to Getty’s involvement (who own the site) there are also serious marketing dollars pushing istock, so you get lots of eyeballs on your work.
CONS:
Low commission rates. Longest wait in the industry to get content approved (As of this writing on June 14, 2010 it takes 5 weeks to get work approved). Time-consuming to upload and keyword. Technical glitches – ie. at the time of this writing FTP and thumbnail generation is not working. Non-exclusives* are limited to uploading 20 video files a week.
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Other sites to consider:


#4. Revostock. – Dallas, Texas, USA
Payout: 45% of product price. Artist sets product price.
Products for sale: Stock Footage (available for sale in original resolution only), Adobe After Effects Projects, Sound FX, Music, Photographs, Vector graphics.

Based in Dallas, Texas, I’ve not had a huge amount of sales at Revostock – mainly because I’ve had a real challenge FTP’ing my work to this agency. Not sure why, and its something I’ve never been able to solve (even with plenty of help from Craig at Revostock) – but I do like Revostock and plan to send them a hard-drive of video-clips later this year. They also pay 45% to their non-exclusive contributors.

PROS: Slick looking site, Revostock’s landing page always looks good. Helpful and responsive support. Upload process is easy. 45% payout for non-exclusive contributors*.
CONS: Not as many sales as the ‘big 3′ – but still worth the effort.
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#5 mediastock – Okotoks, Alberta, Canada.
Payout: 60% of product price. Artist sets product price.
Products for sale: Footage, Adobe AE Projects, 3D Models, Photos, Vector graphics, Music and Sound FX.

This is a brand new agency that just sprang up this year. Mediastock calls itself the ‘ultimate media marketplace’ – selling everything from footage to vector graphics.  From a stock footage producer’s perspective, I like mediastock because they have incorporated some of the best features from other sites – which means that uploading content is smooth and intuitive. The site functions well and looks good. Because they’re a new site – they don’t yet have the numbers to make them a major player (as of this writing they have 8000 products vs. Pond5′s 410,000), but the stockfootage community has embraced them and content on the site increases daily. Keep an eye on mediastock.ca – I think they’ll be a contender. Please note – due to low (ie. zero) sales at mediastock.ca – i’m no longer recommending this site. For more info please check my “Best Places to Sell Stock Footage in 2011″ post coming soon.

PROS: 60% payout one of the highest in the industry. Good looking and well laid out site. Intuitive upload process.
CONS: Mediastock is brand new – meaning they don’t yet have the content to give buyers the variety they’re used to at other sites.
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#6 alwaysHD – Mobile, Alabama, USA
Payout: 50% of product price. Artist sets product price. No upper pricing limit.
Products for sale: Footage  (available for sale in orig. resolution only).

Although alwaysHD has a great 50% payout and have produced some sales for me, I’m frustrated by the lack of movement on this site. According to their owner – Carlton Wilkins, they’ve had numerous technical issues, which has caused uploading challenges for artists (myself included). We’ll see how this site fares in the future. I’d like to see them do well, but in my opinion they’ll really have to pull their socks up if they want to remain popular with submitters.

PROS: 50% payout. No upper pricing limit.
CONS: Technical issues have challenged AlwaysHD, which have in turn challenged contributors.
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#7 ClipCanvas – Oslo, Norway
Payout: 60% of product price. Artist sets product price.
Products for sale: Footage (available for sale in orig. resolution only).

I haven’t really had a chance to work much with ClipCanvas – but I’m including them on this list, because I’ve heard from other contributors that they’ve made sales here. ClipCanvas is also the only European site I’ve listed. When you make a sale on ClipCanvas you’re paid in Euros – which is kind of cool.
My one gripe with ClipCanvas is that it has never been an easy or intuitive site to upload content to. I did manage to get 10 video clips up onto ClipCanvas over a year ago, but because of the awkward interface, decided to direct my energy (and content) elsewhere. I DO plan to send them a hard-drive of my work later in the year, and will report on my success (or failure?) in an upcoming post.

PROS: 60% payout one of the best in the industry. ClipCanvas is also enthusiastic and helpful. When I first started working with them, they offered to mail me a hard-drive so I could send them content.  They were one of the first stock footage companies to embrace Twitter.
CONS: Challenging interface & upload process. Design-wise, i find the yellow font on dark grey background, doesn’t make for an easy read.

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*(Note: All the payout rates listed here are based on having a non-exclusive agreement with each site. You CAN opt for being exclusive and make an extra 10% or so if you stay at one place, but in my opinion that makes no sense. You’ll miss out on sales everywhere else. “There’s no point putting all your eggs in one basket”, as they say).

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Please feel free to ask me questions and/or leave a comment. Your feedback is appreciated.

Thanks for reading.
Robert aka orbitrob


Help me maintain this blog! :
If you find this information helpful and you end up submitting your work to Pond5, Mediastock and/or Revostock, please mention orbitrob (that’s me) as your referrer. On Shutterstock you can mention my referrer code which is: 206494. By mentioning me as your referrer, I’ll make a little money – which I can use to maintain this blog and keep doing what i enjoy most – shooting and selling stock footage!

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28 Responses to “Best places to sell stock footage in 2010”

  1. uzun ihsan Says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing the informations.. I am also a contributor many sites but I heard Mediastock for the first time. I wonder if you had any sale there?

    thanks..

  2. admin Says:

    Hi Uzun,

    Its been a slow start on mediastock and no I have not made a sale here yet. (I have approx. 275 video files uploaded as of today – November 15th / 2010).

    What i do like about mediastock is they have a great interface and their staff is helpful and quick to respond to questions. I’m going to wait until 2011 to see if mediastock.ca is worth the effort.

    Thanks,
    Rob

  3. uzun ihsan Says:

    Hi again, thanks for the info.. I just open an account by clicking your referans link.. I hope it also works for you..

  4. Terry Barksdale Says:

    Dave, finally found your website again. Took some looking. Didn’t realize it till now, but we named our sites similar titles! I am at http://www.stockvideoseller.com. Oh, well. I find I must disagree with you about your top sites for selling video. Several of these sites are non-producers big time. Always HD, Clipcanvas and Mediastock don’t see much traffic as far as I, and several other studied contributors can tell. The percentage may be good, but the ROI makes these site basicly a waste of time. AlwaysHD too much of a hassle for me to get past, so I didn’t contribute there although I uploaded my entire porfolio twice! Each time it simply disapeared. From my experience, and I have uploaded the same portfolio to all the major sites, (you can review this information at:http://www.stockvideoseller.com/public_html/about-me.html) the producing sites are in this order iStockphoto or Pond5. Coming in 2nd Shudderstock. Coming in 3rd Revostock. Some folks seem to get small results from ClipCanvas – but the rest are all dead in the water and most of the folks I am in correspondence with have stopped contribution to them. All the best! Terry

  5. admin Says:

    You’re welcome Uzun & I appreciate the referral. Don’t hestitate to ask if you have any more questions.
    Rob.

  6. admin Says:

    Hi Terry – btw this is Rob Howard, not Dave! I bet you’re thinking of Dave Navarro who has his own stock footage blog at themicrostockblog – you may of come here through his site (we link to each other). I checked out your site at stockvideoseller. Good stuff & yes we do have similar urls, but no big deal the more the merrier imho. :0)
    Thanks for your feedback on my site – I’ll definitely be revising my picks for 2011 and will likely split the review between top tier earners and ‘the rest’. One thing that has definitely changed where i’m focusing my energy was istock’s announcement that they’ll be lowering commissions for non-exclusives in 2011. It has been disheartening to think that in 2011, for every $100 my work generates on istock, they’ll be keeping $84 and leaving me with $16. The istock move was a total ‘enthusiasm killer’ for me. I will still upload there (because they still generate the most sales), but in 2011 I will focus on getting my work to the sites who pay a much fairer 50% commission, and where it feels like an equal partnership.
    cheers. Rob

  7. Terry Barksdale Says:

    Thanks Rob! Appreciate you response. I think it’s worth giving iStock another look, and not be to discouraged. Things may move in an unexpected direction – such as increased downloads creating more income due to the way they are attempting to increase market share (by carving out the top end) and improve the quality of submissions. Once again, if we judged our selection of sites on fairness, we would be submitting to lots of great looking (income split wise) sites in theory, but making little money, as only Pond5 produces income, really. The folks at iStock are smart players and it’s financially worthwhile to adjust to them and rise to their standards and understand who they are marketing too. My own relationship to them has changed over time as I became frustrated with lots of rejections. Recently, I purchased a DSLR and have been in my attempt to meet their standards and have also developed some work arounds (such as resubmitting rejected footage as 720p – downsizing) that seem to get more shots accepted. They are indeed, a tough game to play now – but still cranking out consistent cash every month. Only in the last 6 months, have my other combined incomes moved past the iStock income. In response to the final comment on your reply, Pond5 is the only site offering a 50/50 split which, IMHO and sales experience, is worthwhile to submit too.

  8. ffa Says:

    it’s brilliant
    thank you so much mate you really helped me

  9. Anon Says:

    “What i do like about mediastock is they have a great interface and their staff is helpful and quick to respond to questions.”

    Really ? I have sent a few emails for help with no response. The live chat is never online and the Java upload keeps failing. The FTP address they gave me doesn’t work either in Filezilla.

    All in all not good so far.

  10. admin Says:

    ..and thank-you Terry for your thoughts. I’m really not a fan of iStock anymore – they have become so obsessed with maximizing profits and minimizing payouts to contributors (16% for me & 84% for them right now) that my energy is focused elsewhere – either by selling at other sites, or by doing more independent video work. I agree that istock has done very well at carving out market share, but in their push to monopolize the market they’ve come to care less for the community and more for the bottom line. Contributors get paid less here than anywhere else and buyers pay higher prices for footage than at most other sites. The only winners in this drive toward market dominance appear to be istock, its parent company Getty – and the private equity firm that acquired Getty in Feb 2008, Hellman & Friedman.
    And though I understand your argument that its pointless to contribute to non-performing sites who pay higher percentages than istock – I would also argue that its no fun working with a company where I feel more and more exploited as each year goes by. I’ve simply lost that loving feeling for istock. Its also worth noting that non-istock sites have provided me with 73% of my total income selling stock footage so far this year!
    I will continue to upload to istock, but my best footage – especially work for which I have hired models, make-up artists & studio time, will only go to companies who both perform and pay a fair (30% or above) share for my efforts. The sites where I make the bulk of my money selling stock footage are Pond5 with a 50% payout, Revostock with a 45% payout, Shutterstock with a 30% payout and istock with a 16% payout.

  11. admin Says:

    Good stuff – I hope you make some $ and have fun.

    Rob.

  12. admin Says:

    Hello Anon – I have to agree. I’m not happy with mediastock’s performance. When mediastock.ca first appeared in 2010 it was a different story. I remember the stock footage and design community was excited to see a great looking and functioning site that promised a 50% payout on sales and also had a great referral program. There was good response from staff and fairly busy activitiy in the on-site forums….for a while at least.

    I have no idea what happened to mediastock, but the place has seriously gone downhill since those promising early days. Major parts of the site (forums included) no longer work, emails that i sent them months ago remain unanswered, and I haven’t sold anything there in a year.

    Its too bad, but I won’t be recommending mediastock.ca as a place to sell footage at in 2011.

    Rob.

  13. Anon Says:

    The thing is, from reading this review I went and invested a lot of time uploading sounds and keywording only to find it is a ghost town. I am very disappointed as I could have invested that time elsewhere but that isn’t the fault of this site as like you said in 2010 is was doing ok. I might even pull my sounds if they are going down the pan because they may keep them without my consent. You can tell that they have been inactive for some time because they have a HD Christmas shopping clip on the front page.

    I also have found similar with Productiontrax. It seems active and popular but I have had one sale out of a lot of files. Nobody answers in the forums (some posts are from 2006).

    istock for me is absolutely depressing. I am making almost half of what I made this time last year and since then I have uploaded much more audio. They have changed so much in the last year it’s amazing. The rot strated to set when they introduced the awful awful new website design. I can see it going worse if nothing is done. I was an exclusive audio artist with the constant promise that things were going to be great in the future for me. It never happened, just got worse so I gave it up and sold on other sites. It’s just as well that I did.

    Which brings me to Pond 5. What a saving grace. My sales this last month were the best ever and blow istock out the water. So far my top selling site for audio.

    Revostock isn’t bad either. Sold a lot of music and the odd SFX though it has been slow. I have more hope for it’s future. Funny enough it looks a bit like Mediastock.

    Any other sites worth a look for SFX audio ?

  14. admin Says:

    Hi Anon / jebs,

    One of the challenges of working with sites that sell footage, audio, photos and content is the amount of work required to upload and keyword content – especially when one finds that after doing all that work, a site turns out to not perform as well as originally advertised. My apologies to you (and to others) who took my recommendation to upload to mediastock.ca last year – only to find that it has produced little or no sales. I will be posting a revised listing of sites at which to sell stock footage at in 2011 very shortly – and will base my recommendations only on hard sales data.

    Its interesting to read your experiences selling audio at different sites. I’m sorry to hear about your challenges at istock – but happy to hear you avoided being sold into an exclusive agreement with them. The pressure I’ve sometimes felt as a contributor to become an exclusive member istock reminds me of the Groucho Marx quote, “PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER”! :0) Seriously though, if i was selling footage with just one agency (instead of working with several) i would be making about 1/3 of what i currently do.

    Re. your question “Any other sites worth a look for SFX audio?” – I’m afraid I don’t have any good recommendations as my focus is strictly on selling footage.

    Thank-you for your comments.
    Rob.

  15. Katie Says:

    Do you ever upload same content to multiple sites if you don’t have an exclusivity agreement? I have been wondering if this is a more successful method in sales.

  16. admin Says:

    Hi Katie,

    Yes i always upload the same content to multiple sites – which results in more sales.
    I’ve never had an exclusivity agreement with one company. Its just not worth it – IMHO.

    best
    Rob

  17. Dash Says:

    Hi Rob,
    Brilliant bit of information. I’ve got a fair bit of footage that I took in India of Sikh warriors and other bits and bobs, that I hope to process and get up online soon. Not to sure what username to use when registering and if that has an impact, and whether to have a website for all my footage where people can possibly buy it direct. Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks
    D

  18. admin Says:

    Hello D,

    Thanks for the compliment! As far as choosing a username i would lean towards using your business name (if you have one) or next best thing your nickname or some clever handle that sums up who you are. In your case ‘Dash’ would be great – or ‘DashStock’ / ‘DashFootage’ etc.

    Re. your question of selling content on your own website. I know a few stock footage producers who market their content on their own websites, but hardly any who sell direct. The biggest challenge is getting enough interested “eyeballs” on your work to make the sales. In my opinion its best to let the agencies spend the time and money on sales and marketing, so you can focus on creating and uploading your footage.

    It sounds like you have some great content that will differentiate yourself from the masses. Good luck and don’t hesitate to email me if you have any other questions.

    Rob

  19. Medic Says:

    Hey Rob, thanks for the information. I’m just wanting to start out doing stock footage collections. I have a DVX-100B for now, but I’m looking at things like the Nikon D7000 to sell the more modern cinematic styles of footage. I’ll have to save for that. Can you give me any tips on starting up? Maybe do a nice article, “How To Enter The Stock Footage Market.” lol, something like that? Thanks.

  20. admin Says:

    You’re welcome Medic. DVX-100B looks like a nice cam, as does the Nikon D7000. DSLR’s really are fun with so many lens options. I’m shooting with a Canon 550D at the moment.
    Thanks for your feedback and the article idea.

  21. multitasker Says:

    Hello, I’m an amateur in the world of filmaking, and I was wondering if anyone has used the converter “Mpeg Streamclip.” (Free download.) If you are familiar with this converter, does anyone know if it is capable of converting AVCHD film (I need to convert to .mov)? I know it’s kind of a random question, but I was hoping someone would have some advice. I tried to convert an AVCHD clip but it didn’t work. (So maybe that answers my question?!) Or could someone recommend a good AVCHD converter? Thanks much.

  22. Zigazaga Says:

    istock seem to be very greedy and add insult to injury by spending the frotune they make out of fleecing the artists on constantly making their website more confusing, slow and difficult to navigate. What adds insult to injury is that they give you all kinds of fake “incentives” and make you work up from bronze to gold level – a lot cheaper than just paying properly in my opinion. Pond5 are the best for me so far!

  23. Stefan Says:

    None of you guys say much about Getty.com. I work for a production company and the editor I work with has always been buying from Getty. I’d like to think that my footage is sort of high end. Is Getty more high end then the rest. How do they compare? Any experiences? Thanks

  24. 1grog1 Says:

    Hi all,
    I have heard that many producers are having trouble selling their footage/animations on stock sites recently (of course we are currently still gripped by the low economy) and i was wondering if anyone has experienced this.

    I have content on a number of sites including Stock Media Pro and have had steady sales without a lull. This said I am anticipating the worst and was wondering if anyone had any tips to keep sales up?

  25. Julie Ann Says:

    Has anyone got anything to say about Stock Media Pro?
    I just signed up as a Producer and wanted to know if anyone has any experience with them. They are really nice and helpful but I haven’t heard about them until recently. Are they new?

    Thanks all! x

  26. admin Says:

    Hi multitasker,
    i’m not an expert when it comes to file conversion, but as far as i know Mpeg Stream clip does not handle AVCHD files. I’m not aware of any other free converters that will get the job done. Otherwise you may have to invest in an NLE (Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas etc.) Thanks for your comment and good luck.
    Rob

  27. admin Says:

    Agreed! Pond5 is an easier and more profitable option that istock.

  28. admin Says:

    I’ve not worked directly with Getty however it should be noted that Getty images owns istock. Getty is currently in the process of migrating and mirroring their entire istock video collection to Getty – including the work of non-exclusives.
    There are some threads on istock right now talking about this. In a current thread Jim aka “VCR” explains: Eventually all the video files will be mirrored on GI. The program began as an experiment a few years ago with a handful of exclusive files, expanded to a bunch more exclusive files, and those experiments have proved to be succussful as a whole for both GI and the contributors involved. Initially, the files and contributors were hand picked, but the net widened as the program expanded. Last year, changes to the ASA (both exclusive and non-exclusive) paved the way for the program to be expanded to non-exclusives, although we have not begun that part of the migration yet – we still have not finished mirroring the exclusive content. I fully expect that transferring the current collection will be complete before the year ends, and files will be automatically transferred upon acceptance at that point.

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